WHERE STONES SPEAK
The ancient historic town of Mamallapuram (previously known as Mahabalipuram), in Tamil Nadu, was a bustling seaport used by primitive Indian traders to sail to Southeast Asia. Still famous for its beaches, the real treat for travelers, however, are Mamallapuram’s stone sculptures and rock-cut caves. The five rathas are beautifully sculpted temples in the shape of chariots, while Arjuna’s penance is a huge carving on the face of a rock depicting scenes from the epic Mahabharata. the December 2004 tsunami helped unearth more priceless relics in this ancient port city, including sculptures of an elaborately carved lion, a half-completed elephant and a stallion in fight. Another attraction is the Mahabalipuram Dance Festival conducted every year during jan-feb. Exponents of classical dance form such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Kathakali from across the country perform against the magnificent backdrop of the Pallava rock sculpture.
Best time of visit: Oct to March